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The terms “Gamekeeper's thumb” (chronic joint trauma) and “Skier's thumb” (acute rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament) are not synonymous terms. Skier's thumb can be classified into three grades which are indicative of the mechanism of injury. Because of the predominence of ligament failures (as against avulsion fractures), it is clear rotational forces are responsible for the injury. The rotary force required to rupture the ligament is about half that required to cause damage in pure abduction. The injury could be totally prevented by providing a shield on the front of all ski poles.
Skier's thumb, Gamekeeper's thumb, classification, mechanism of injury, ulnar collateral ligament rupture, metacarpophalangeal kinetics, injury prevention
Private physiotherapist, Mangere Health Centre, Mangere, Auckland